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Institute of International Education 


International Relations Clubs 
Syllabus No. Ill 

The History of Russia from 
earliest times 

A Preliminary Syllabus 
fty Baron S, A, Kokff, LL.D. 

ormerly Professor of Russian S#aw and History of Law ;it the University of 
Helsingfars, Finland, and the Women's University of Petrograd, Russia 


west fexas State Ccilsgs 

San Marcos, Texas 

August, 1920 




In the course of my lectures in eastern and southern universities 
and colleges, I found invariably the greatest interest in Russia, her 
history and institutions, and her present unfortunate condition and 
sufferings. There is no doubt whatever that the present American 
generation feels intensely attracted by and is heartily in sympathy 
with the Russian people. And rightly may Americans be concerned 
with Russia's fate; no peace in Europe — and, hence, in the world — 
will be established, as long as the present conditions last in Russia; 
this probably is accepted at the present day as a truism by most 
educated people. 

And yet, notwithstanding all this interest and sympathy of 
Americans, I found a very considerable lack of knowledge of Russia's 
past and present conditions, as well as a keen desire to learn more 
about the Russian people. There are available quite sufficient 
sources of information in the English language, but, unfortunately, 
the American reader is only too often misguided by political propa- 
ganda, which makes use of all recent information in distorting it 
and warping its real meaning. 

The aim of the present syllabus is to help the American reader 
in his studies of Russia's history, in an impartial and non-political 
way, and give him a leading thread through the maze of modern 
literature, Of course, the very best book on Russian history is 
that of the late Moscow Professor, V. O. Kliuchevski; the first 
three volumes are now translated into English and published in 
this country. It is much more difficult to point out works concern- 
ing more recent events of Russian history and especially the causes 
and history of her great Revolution; most of what has been written 
relating to modern times is biased one way or another and does not 
give a fair account of the complicated social and economic processes 
of Russian life. Even Russians in this respect have yet done very 
little; in consequence, most foreign writers and investigators can 
hardly be blamed for their lack of understanding. Miliukov's book, 
"Russia and Its Crisis" (1905) and certainly Masaryk's two vol- 


umes, "The Spirit of Russia," Macmillan Co., 1919, which gives the 
best picture of the ideology of the Russian revolutionary movement, 
are probably the best sources of information, though even they do 
not cover the whole ground. Much is still to be achieved, but this 
can be done only by the Russian historians themselves and the 
latter hardly will be able to start their work as long as the present 
conditions of social unrest last. 

Every patriotic Russian must feel very grateful for the cordial 
sympathy invariably shown toward his country by Americans, 
and for the boundless hospitality that he always meets with in the 
United States. 

Deep satisfaction must also be expressed to the Institute of 
Internationa! Education, of the Carnegie Endowment, for publish- 
ing this syllabus as a possible help in the study of Russian history, 
as well as for their endeavors to stimulate such studies among 
American students. Many of the Russian events could serve as a 
splendid example in our modern troubled times. 

S, A, Korff 

New York 
July, 1920 



I. Early History of the Slavs 

A. The pre-historic abode of the Slavs on the south coast of the Baltic. 
Historical research of the XIX century was very much puzzled in locating 
the original dwelling places of the pre historic Slavs and only the recent 
linguistic studies of Professor A. Shahmatov and others established the 
real pre-historic abode of the Slavic tribes on the southern and western 
shores of the Baltic. 

B. The first migratory movements south in the first centuries of our era. The 
Slavs on the Carpathian mountains. 

Their causes, as compared to pre-historic tribal movements in Europe in 
general. Social structure and organization of the primitive Slavic tribes; 
their mode of living. 

C. Two main results of the migration south: 

1. First contact with other races. 

2. Split among the Slavic tribes. 

D. Early history and the chief tribal characteristics: 

1. Of the Poles. 

2. Of the Southern Slavs, moving constantly south, toward the Balkan 

\i. The great trade routes north and south from the Baltic to the Black and 
Caspian seas and vice-versa. 

The state of culture of the Norsemen in Scandinavia, the Greeks on the 
coasts of the Black Sea and the Persians in the Caspian region. Races 
inhabiting South Russia and Central Asia. 

The meaning for the Eastern Slavs and for their primitive social organi- 
zations of the trade routes and especially of the contact with the Norse- 

The social and military organization of the Norsemen. 
l'\ Gradual fusion of the Norse elements, especially of their military leaders, 
in the Slavic social body. 

Direct consequence: new forms of the Slavic primitive state. The role 
of the Vietche or popular assembly of the Slavs. Their mode of govern- 
ment. Their trade. 

The ancient legends concerning the founding of the Slavic state; VI 1 1— I X 
centuries a. D. The way and purpose for which such legends were 

Outer relations and inner conditions of the Slavic tribal groups and settle- 
ments of the IX century. 

The prince, as head of the tribe and military leader; his army; the local 
noblemen and traders. 

* r. I nil in-iii r nl rrligion. Ancient rites ot the Slavs. 

( nrisiianity Introduced by Prince Vladimir; relations with Byzantium. 

11, Growth of culture, wealth and civilization among the Slavs living on the 
great trade route along the River Dnieper. Differences between the 
northern and southern tribes and settlements; Novgorod and Kiev. 
Gradual increase of numbers and decrease in size of the Slavic states and 
tribat organizations. Their growing weakness and inter-tribal quarrels. 
Growth of the power of the prince and loss of influence of the popular 
assemblies (Vietche); role of the ruling class and their trade. 

[, Beginnings and causes of a new colonizing movement in the north-east, into 
forests inhabited by very primitive Finnish tribes. 

Founding of Moscow, a small local colony, (The description of this new 
process constitutes one of the finest pages of Kliuchevski'&book.) 
The prince landlord; the ruling class; the peasant-colonists; final disap- 
pearance of the Vietche. 

XI-X1I centuries. Exceptional position of Novgorod and its commercial 
wealth. Two other republics— Pskof and Viatka. 
J. The split between the north-eastern tribes, which formed the Great- 
Russian stock, and the ones left in the south-west, later known as the 
Little Russians or Ukrainians. 

Differences: of language, character, mode of living and occupation, cli- 
mate, social organization and economic conditions. 
K. The Mongol invasion and conquest. Its important influences on the 
Slavs, on their social organization and institutions, their religion, eco- 
nomic conditions and future development. The dark XIII century. 
The form of Mongol subjugation; military dominance; financial tribute 
and ways of collecting it ; local autonomy of the Slavs. Relations between 
the Slav princes and the Mongol rulers. 

Great differences between the situation in the south-west and in the 
north -cast. 

The r61e of the Slavs in stopping the further western movement of 

the Mongols into Europe. 


R. Beazley, N. Forbes, G. A. Birkett, History of Russia to Modem 
Times; London, 1918. 

J. CUBTIN, The Mongols, a History, Boston, 1908. 
J. Curtin, The Mongols in Russia, Boston, 1908. 

V. O. Kliuchevski, History of Russia, N. Y., Dutton & Co. The author 
is unanimously considered by the Russians as the greatest and most able 
modern historian. 

A. Rambaud, History oj Russia from Earliest Times, 1885 (Antiquated). 

II. Mediaeval Epoch 

A. Remarkable growth of the Principality of Moscow. 

Surprising results of the north-eastern colonization. Moscow's relations 
to neighboring principalities and their gradual subjugation by various 
clever means. 


Relations with Byzantium ami the 
Relations to the Mongol suzerains. 
Gradual weakening of the power of the latter. 

Moscow emerges triumphant and amazingly strong in the XV century, 
Causes of the foregoing process. 
Inward consolidation. 
Outward conquests. 

Remarkable personalities of the Moscow princes, culminating in Ivan III, 
the Great. 

Their family, house and system of government. 
Relations to the now impoverished south-west, 

C. Social organization; economic conditions of Moscow. 
Traits of feudalism in Moscow, 

The class of aristocracy and mediatised princes. 

The new bureaucracy, grown out of the Household of the Prince. 

The commercial class; Moscow's trade and trade routes* 

The peasants. 

The serfs. 

Foundation and growth of autocracy, reaching a climax under Ivan IV, 
the Terrible. 

Influence of Byzantium and partly of the Mongols, as well as of the 
predilections of the Moscow princes. 
Influence of the Church. 

D. Wars of the XV and XVI centuries. 
The Poles, the Swedes, the Tartars. 

Great expansion: east, south-east and south. 

Colonization movement south and the first Cossack settlements. 

Consolidation of these conquests. 

Fight against the old aristocracy, especially by Ivan IV, and the reorgani- 
zation of the central government. 

The Duma and other institutions of the central government. 
The local administration. 
Finances and army. 
New social classes. 

The peasants, becoming gluebae adscripti towards the end of the XVI 
century. Land property, 

E. Weakness of the central government towards the end of the XVI century. 
Dynastic troubles and strife among the ruling classes. 

Other sources of inner weakness and outward danger. 

F. Great social upheaval and unrest in the beginning of the XVII century. 
The founding of the new Romanoff dynasty and the election of Michael 
to the throne in 1613. 

Final disappearance of the old aristocracy. 

The new bureaucratic system of government; the Duma, Prikasi and 
other institutions; elected assemblies or Zemskie Sobori. 
The local administration; landed proprietors; their serfs, 


Want of Mit luirl ami Alexis, nmiriiilly against the Poles, Swedes ami 

Relation! with the south-west. 

( i. The meaning: of the social unrest of the XVII century for the future devel- 
opment of Russia. 

The religious strife between the established Church and the new sects 

and nonconformists. 

The position and role of the Patriarch. 

Education, literature and culture. 

Trade and commerce. 

Influence of western civilization. 

Influx of foreigners. 


V. O. Kliuchevski, History of Russia. 

J. Mavor, Economic History of Russia, N. Y., Dutton, 1914. 

A. Rambaud, History of Russia. 

Readers, knowing Russian, can make use of the works of SekgeievicH, 
Lappo-Danilevski, Platonof and Pavlof-Silvanski. 

III. The Russian Empire— XVIII Century 

A. Peter I, the Great. His youth and education; his personality; voyages 
abroad; advent to the throne and reforms. 

Preliminary epoch and social surroundings. 

Fight against tradition; western influences. 

Peter's wars; with the Swedes, with the Poles and the Turks. 

Founding of St. Petersburg; reasons and consequences. 

The navy and the Baltic trade. 

B. Peter's reforms; general scope. 
Central government; the senate. 

\ Local administration; the new provinces and their governors. 
Finances, army, recruiting system. 
The peasant; the serf. 

The Church (Patriarch and Synod); religion, education. 

C. Women on the throne. 
Permanent changes, 

Causes of the failure of some reforms and of the seeming instability of 
Peter's achievements. 

D. Catherine II. Her youth and education; her marriage and the dethrone- 
ment of her husband; her personality and accomplishments; her literary 

Social classes; the aristocracy, the gentry, the commercial class, the 
peasants and serfs. 
The general assembly, 

The great reform of the provincial administration ; local self-government 
and Catherine's governor-generals. 

Her relations with the western philosophers, Voltaire, Diderot and others, 

E. The wars of Catherine; her conquests and system of governing the con- 
quered provinces. Partitions of Poland. The Ukraine. Turkey. 
Russia finally reaches the Black Sea, 

The economic and strategical meaning of the outlets to the seas. The 
straits of Constantinople. 

Catherine's favorites; the serfs and the landed proprietors. 

The educational system; literature; religion; cultural development and 

intellectual awakening. 

Catherine's fear of the French Revolution. 

F. The reign of Catherine's insane son, Paul. 

R. Beazley, N. Forbes, G. A. BlRKETT, History of Russia to Modern 

Times, London, 1918. 

V. O. Kliuchevski, History of Russia. 

J. Mavor, Economic History of Russia. 

W. R. Mob fill, A History of Russia , N. Y., Pott and Co., 1902. 
There exists a voluminous literature concerning Catherine and her reign, 
much of which is, however, absolutely unreliable. 

IV. The Russian Empire — XIX Century 

A. Alexander I. His youth, education and liberal inclinations. 
Murder of his father, his advent to the throne. 

Attempts at some liberal reforms; Speranski and his constitutional plans. 
Relations with Napoleon. 

Conquest of Finland and the grant of a constitution. 
The war with Napoleon of 18 n-18 12, 

Congress of Vienna; Alexander, the liberator of Europe and savior of 

The Polish Constitution. 

Alexander in Paris; his great influence on western politics. 

The Holy Alliance; Alexander's relations with the United States. 

Change in Alexander's Russian policy. 

Educational system; intellectual influences; economic difficulties; 
literature, religion. 

The return from abroad of the Russian armies. 
Sudden death of Alexander in the South of Russia. 

B. Nicholas 1. His youth, education and autocratic tastes. 
The uprising of 1825 at the time of his advent to the throne. 
Dark period of reaction in Russia. 

The Polish insurrection of 1831. 

Turkish war; Hungarian campaign. 

European reaction and the r61e of Nicholas. 

The new bureaucracy; the peasant-serfs; the army. 

Educational reaction; great literary awakening. 

Seeming strength and inward weakness of Russia. 

The Crimean War and defeat. 


( . Ahuuuidci II. Mis ami advent to tin* throne during the Crimean 

disaster. Congress of Paris; restrictions laid upon Russia. 
The liberal reforms: 

1. Emancipation of the serfs, 1861. 

2. Local self-government (zemstvos and municipalities), 1864, 1870, 

3. Courts of law, 1864. 
Second Polish insurrection, 1863. 

Insincerity of some reforms and the consequent reaction; opposition or 
some social classes. 

The aristocracy, gentry and bureaucracy after the emancipation. 

The Turkish War, the Balkan States and Europe; The Congress of 

Berlin; Bismarck and Beaconsfield. 

Alexander's foreign policy; Gorchakof; influence of Prussia, 

Central Asia and the Caucasus. 

Economic and financial policy. 

Education, literature, religion, art. 

The revolutionary movement; Alexander's death. 

D. Alexander III. His youth and education; advent to the throne after his 
father's murder. 

Systematic reaction; his ministers, especially Count D. Tolstoi and 

Political persecutions, growing constantly in intensity. 
Oppression of the non-Slavic nationalities. 

Education, literature, religion; the revolutionary movement and social 

Alexander's foreign policy; friendship with France and dislike of Ger- 
many and England. 

Conquests and colonization in Central Asia. Trans-Siberian Railway, 
Economic development of Russia. 


Val. de Goklof, Origines el Piloses de TAUiance franco-russe, Paris, 
Grosset, 1913. 

J. F. Hecker, Russian Sociology, N. Y., 1915. 

Kinglake, The Crimean War (The best and most detailed account of this 
terrible struggle). 

A. Kornilov, Modern Russian History, Knopf, NT. Y. 

M. Kovalevsky, Russian Political Institutions? Chicago, 1 902. 

S, M, Kravchinsky, Russian Peasantry, Dutton, 1905. 

P. A. Kropotkine, Ideals and Realities in Russian Literature, N . Y. r 1915. 

P. A. Kropotkine, Russian Literature, N. Y., 1905. 

T. G. Masabvk, Spirit of Russia, Macmillan Co., 1919. 

J. Mavor, Economic History of Russia, Dutton, 1914. 

P. N. MiLiUKOV, Russia and Its Crisis, 1903. 

P. Vinocradoff, Self-Government in Russia-, London, 1916. 


Tine following win ks were formerly considered &6 standard investigation,'!, 

but are at present out of date and antiquated: 

A. Le roy- Bea ulie u, The Empire of the Tsars, 1893. 

D. McKenzie Wallace, Russia, 1912. 

A. Rambaud, History of Russia, 1885. 

V. Russia and the Revolution 

A, The reign of Nicholas II. His education, character and proclivities. 

Social surroundings. The court. The ruling classes and the bureaucracy. 
The gentry, the peasantry and other classes. 

The foreign policy. The Hague Conferences; their origin and achieve- 
ments; alliance with France and influences of Germany; England ; 
United States. 

The strife in the Far East and consequent war with Japan. Port Arthur 
and Dalny, The army. The navy. Korea. Commerce in the Far East. 
Manchuria. Russian-Chinese Bank and Railway. Portsmouth Treaty. 
R61e of President Roosevelt. 


The cited works of A. Koknilov, J. Mayor, V. de Goklof, Mackenzie 
Wallace; sec also Asakawa, Russo-Japanese Conflict. 
A. J. Bev&JUDGE, The Russian Advance, N. Y., Harpers, 1904. 
C. J. H. Hayes, Modern Europe, Vol. II. 
Ch. Rivet, The Last of the Romanoffs, London, 191ft 
II. Causes and consequences of the military defeat; liberal concessions; the 
manifesto of October, 1905; the first Russian Parliament (the Imperial 

The Russian Constitution; its main principles and outline. 
Insincerity of these reforms and measures. 

The first two Dumas; the third Duma; the role of the upper chamber. 
The increasing reaction; Prime Minister P. Stolypine; his agrarian 

Political persecutions and degeneration of the police system {treachery ot 
Ascf and murder of Stolypine). 
Development of the revolutionary movement. 
C, The economic and financial situation. 

Growing industry; the labor question and unrest. 

Education ; universities (their participation in politics), technical, medical 
and other schools; women's education; primary schools (government, 
church, zemstvo, municipal, private). 
Literature, science, music, art. 

Influences of the western countries, which no police measures could stop. 

M, BARING, Av Outline of Russian Literature, London, 1915. 
M. Baring, Landmarks in Russian Literature, 1910. 
W. II. Beable, Commercial Russia, London, 1918. 


P, A. KkijI'oikink, Ideals timl Realities in Russian Literature, 1915. 

I'. A. KjtOPOIKXKB, Russian Literature, 1905. 

T. J. Mas.vhvk, Spirit of Russia, 1919. 

J. M won, An Economic History of Russia, 1914, Vol. II. 

I 5 . N. MiLtUKOV, Russia and lis Crisis, 1905. 

Montagu- Nathan, Contemporary Russian Composers, 191". 

A. Raffalovitch, Russia, Its Trade and Commerce, 1918. 

A. Rkade, Russia under Nicholas II, 1918. 

II. W. Williams, Russia of the Russians, 1916. 

K. Zilliacus, Russian Revolutionary Movement, 1905. 

D. Foreign policy, preceding the World's War. 

The Far Eastern question; Japan, China, Manchuria, Mongolia. 
The Balkan States. 

Turkey and the Straits; Palestine; Armenia. 
Persia; Afganistan; Central Asia; Treaty with England in 1907. 
Relations with Russia's future enemies; Germany and the Kaiser; Tur- 
key, Constantinople, Berlin-Bagdad railway; Bulgaria; Austria-Hun- 
gary; the Murzsteg Convention; other agreements and conflicts Russia's 
position and policy among the other Slavic nations. 
Relations with Russia's future allies; France and her craving for a strong 
alliance with Russia to counterbalance Germany; French military missions 
and visits to Russia; French loans and other forms of assistance. 
England: attempt of King Edward Vll to encircle Germany; his visit to 
Rcval in 1908; agreement with Russia after generations of opposition. 


J. A. Beveridge, The Russian Advance, 1904. 

E. G. Browne, The Persian Revolution, 1905-1909. 

A. Bullard, The Diplomacy of the Great War. 

PERCY Dearmek, Russia and Britain, Oxford Univ. Press, 1915. 

C. J. H. Haves, Modem Europe, Vol. II. 

Y. N. Schelking, Game of Diplomacy, London, 1918. 

W. M. Shuster, The Strangling of Persia. 

M. S. Stan oye vie 11, Russian Foreign Policy in the East, San Francisco, 

E, The Great War. 
Russia and Serbia. 

The Russian mobilization. 

The German declaration of war. 

Strategic position of Russia and of her armies. 

Her rfile towards France; the invasion of East Prussia. 

Russia's military effort. 

Why she failed in 1915. 

Turkey, the Straits and Bulgaria. 

Allied help and lack of understanding. 

War aims and peace aims. 

Campaign of 1916; Sukomlinov's trial. 


Rumania, Galicia, the Caucasus. 
The Tsar and the Grand Duke Nicholas. 
The Navy: in the Baltic; in the Black Sea. 


E. J, Dillon, Eclipse of Russia, 1918. 

B, Gourko, War and Revolution in Russia, Macmillan Co., 1919. 
H. S, King, Russia During the War, 1919, London. 
O. D. LourIE, La Russie en 1914-IQ17, Paris, Alcan, 1918. 
St. Washburn, Field Notes from the Russian Front, London, 1915, 
St. Washburn, The Russian Advance, N, Y., 1917. 

The Revolution. 

Growing social unrest and increasing general discontent. 
Physical causes; food shortage, etc. 

Psychical causes; disillusionment in the war aims; war-weariness; dis- 
trust of government. 

Government policy of suspicion and oppression. 

Personalities and characters surrounding the Tsar. The Court, the Em- 
press, the Government, the ruling class, Rasputinc. 
The revolutionary movement, at home and abroad. 
The different political parties and their rfile during the war. 
The Imperial Duma and the Council of Empire. 
Oppressed nationalities; German propaganda. 

The outbreak of March, 1917; the abdication of Tsar Nicholas; the 
First Provisional Government; its program; its policy; causes of its 

Kerenski and the Allies. The abortive offensive of June, T917. Kornilnv 
and the increasing weakness of Kerenski. 

G. The rise of the revolutionary tide. 

The Bolshevik uprising of November, 1917; causes of its success. 

The system of government of the Bolshevik! ; their ideals and methods nf 


The Constituent Assembly; its history and fate at the hands of the 

The reign of terror of the first months. 
*L. i % a £ c °f Brest -Litovsk. Poland and Finland. 
The Ukraine and Hetman Skoropadski. 
First year of Bolshevik rule (1918). 

Similarities with the French Revolution and main points of difference. 
Separation of Siberia; Provisional Government of Omsk; Admiral Kol- 

Allied policy in Siberia (Japan, United States). 

Peace Conference at Paris; position of Russia and the Russians. 

Allied policy toward Russia at Paris; the Prinkipo proposal and missions 

to the Bolsheviki. 

The Baltic question; the army of General Youdenitch; causes of its two 
consecutive breakdowns. 



EUm «►! Gtmrftl Dentklne En the South of Russia; 1919: the Cossacks. 
The Caucasus; tin- Southern Republics; Armenia; Persia. 
Failures of Kolcltak and Denikine in the autumn of 19 19. 
Second year ot the Bolshevik rule (1919). 
The blockade and trade with Russia. 

Changes in the Allied policies during the spring of 1920; causes and 


Anon. Bolshevik Aims and Ideals, Macmillan Co., 1919. 
E. Antonelli, Bolshevik Russia, 1920. 
E. Buisson, Les Bolsheviki, Paris, Fischbacher, 1919. 
M, W. Davis, Open Gates to Russia, 1920. 

S. A. Kokff, Russian and French Revolutions, Yale Review, April, 1919, 
R. E. C. Long, Russian Revolutionary Aspects, 1919. 
A. Masson, Hisloire Complete de la Revolution Rttsse, Paris, Boecard, tgt8. 
P. N. Miliukov, Bolshevism, N. Y., 1920. 

C. K. Gumming and W. W. Pettit, Russian- American Relations, 1917- 

E. A. Ross, Russia in Upheaval, 1918. 
C. E. Russell, Unchained Russia, 1918. 
J. Spargo, Bolshevism, 1919. 

J. Spakgo, The Greatest Failure in All History, N. Y., 1920. 
LSOK Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution to Brest- Litvask, Lon- 
don, 1919. (His point of view Olid theories arc often distorted and always 
one-sided, but his narrative is substantially correct.) 
E, Vandervelde, Three Aspects of the Russian Revolution, London, 1918. 
W. E. Walling, Sovietism, 1920. 
E. H. Wilcox, Russia's Ruin, 1919. 

H. W. Williams, The Spirit of the Russian Revolution, 1919. 
R, Wilton, Russia's Agony, London, 19 18.